Ithaca Win Exemplifies Oswego's Season
When Oswego State scored the game-winning goal in the third overtime for an 8-7 win over then-No. 18 Ithaca on Sunday, there was no grand display of celebration by Lakers coach Ryan Martin. It's not because he wasn't happy and it's not because he's an Ithaca alum.
It was simply out of respect for the guys he was about to shake hands with.
"Coach [Jeff] Long and Coach [Rich] Barnes, those are guys who have changed my life and I wouldn't be where I am without them," said Martin. "They were obviously disappointed with the result, but they had kind words and I think they were happy for me and my program."
The victory over the Bombers was just the second in the 36-year history of the Lakers' program (a win in 1996 was the first) and improved Oswego's record to 6-0 in Martin's second year at the helm as they draw nearer to its SUNYAC schedule. The Ithaca win, which required the Lakers to rally from a four-goal deficit at the start of the fourth quarter, is a microcosm of how the season has gone so far.
"That's how they've been; they've been resilient," said Martin, who was the 2002 Empire 8 Player of the Year for Long in 2002. "I couldn't be more proud of them. We didn't play our best through the first three quarters, but the guys didn't give at all. They kept fighting and we found a way."
The Lakers are led by a pair of OCC transfers in senior goalie Ian O'Brien, who made 16 saves against the Bombers, and close defender Eric Miccio. Those guys are the anchor, but Oswego is very young, with just five seniors on the roster. As such, Martin estimates that half of the 22 players who regularly see the field on game day are rookies.
The three freshmen who are leading the way are attackman Cody Hoose and midfielder Connor Khammar, who were teammates at West Genesee last year, and middie Matt Palmer. Hoose is the leading points man for the Lakers with 11 goals and 14 assists while Khammar and Palmer each have nine goals.
With as many unknowns as they had coming into this season, combined with last spring's 5-10 record (0-6 in the SUNYAC), it's not surprising that the Lakers were picked last in the preseason conference coaches' poll. One of this year's goals is make the four-team SUNYAC tournament, and earn a little respect.
"We're deeper, we have a higher lacrosse IQ and a better work ethic," Martin said. "But you never know what to expect, especially when you have a lot of freshmen playing. I guess I'm a little bit surprised by how quickly this team has jelled, but we have a lot of work to do."